Thurrock 2 Ware 1
Late goal sends Ware home empty handed.
For their second visit to Ship Lane this season Ware once again found themselves a man and a goal down before fighting back to draw level. This time however they were denied a deserved point by an injury time goal as legs tired and opportunities appeared more regularly for the home side.
With Alaa Oujdi and Jonathan Constant not available and Marcus Rose fit again there were changes from the team that had won its last three games, most notably the move of Tom Bradbury from centre back to fill Oujdi's left back role. At 18 years old Bradbury is rapidly gaining experience and this match was to prove no exception.
Meanwhile Joe Reynolds, previously with Ware under Nicky Ironton, also made an appearance from the substitutes' bench but that was long after the game's key moment early in the first half. A free kick to Thurrock after 13 minutes saw Glen Poole lay the ball off to James Goode whose shot hit Josh Oyibo. Oyibo was judged to have encroached and given a yellow card.
Thurrock worked the same routine with the retaken kick albeit that their two players reversed roles. This time Poole's shot hit Oyibo but the officials saw no infringement even though to many these were identical incidents. Such are the fine lines on which decisions are made but Oyibo, possibly fired up by a perceived injustice, may have been in no mood to make considered judgements. Two minutes later a lunging tackle earned him a second yellow and an early shower.
If there was upset in the Ware team over this seemingly harsh reduction in their numbers it didn't show as they continued to have a fair share of the game until the 28th minute when Thurrock's Ronnie Winn broke from a Ware attack. He turned past Jack Mace before bearing down on goal. Kyle Forster was out to stop him but only did so at the expense of another yellow card and a penalty. Poole buried it in the middle of the net with Forster diving to his left.
This lifted the home side and where their defence had previously been troubled by Ware's long through balls they were now dealing confidently with all that the visitors were throwing at them.
The second half started differently and initially play was very much in the Thurrock half. Anyone arriving after the 15 minute mark might not have realised that the visitors were under strength.
Brian Haule and Gareth Price were cutting their way through the home defence and if they sometimes found themselves in blind alleys this was not the case in the 48th minute. Price opened up an opportunity for Nathan Mukuna who momentarily had a shooting opportunity from the edge of the area. Instead he opted to get closer and turned inside his man but was closed down.
With Thurrock now reliant on long balls to their wing men during this period Ware continued to enjoy the better of the play even hitting a post with a shot from Marcus Rose from one goal mouth scramble. Shortly after this Evandro Delgado came off the bench and whilst this has recently meant Mukuna's exit from the game he stayed on as Ware sought to find more openings. It paid off within a minute as Delgado took the ball to the goal line on 70 minutes, looked up and saw a space in the penalty area. He played the ball in for Price to run on to and smash it in the net from close to the penalty spot.
Optimists felt that there could only be one winner at this point and with Thurrock now reliant mostly on long balls out of defence this seemed possible. However, that made no allowance for Ware's increasingly tired legs and Thurrock's determination to recover their lead. There were nervy moments for the visitors after this but the defence held together well until the 93rd minute when the home side at last found an opening as the ball reached Ross Wall towards the edge of the area. He took the goal well to give Forster no chance and end Ware's hope of a hard earned point.
If anything lessened the sense of disappointment in the Ware camp it was the realisation that the ten men had put in a tremendous team performance for 75 minutes. That at least bodes well for the future which in football terms starts on Monday at Haringey Borough.
Ware: Kyle Forster, Jack Mace, Tom Bradbury, Ryan Hervel (Joe Reynolds 64mins), Marcus Rose, Murat Karagul, Aston Goss (Evandro Delgado 69mins), Josh Oyibo, Brian Haule, Gareth Price, Nathan Mukuna. Unused sub: Dani Ladeira.